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Winter Home Inspection & Maintenance Checklist

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The autumn leaves have fallen, and the air has a bit more bite to it. You know what that means – wintertime! Is your home ready for the colder months ahead?

Whether you’re prepping your primary residence for below-freezing temps or are readying a summer home for the time you’ll be away, we’ve compiled a list of the most important DIY home inspection and maintenance tips to make sure you don’t miss a thing.

This guide is intended for existing homeowners. If you’re buying a house, you’ll benefit more from our article on what to expect from a professional home inspection.

Why is winter home maintenance important?

Just like the summer heat, cold weather stresses your home and appliances. Akin to summertime home maintenance, you may be starting up systems that haven’t been used most of the year.

Consider this: When was the last time you turned on your heating system? For some, it may not have been since last winter.

Big weather changing seasons like summer and winter are great opportunities to perform checks and knock out any repairs or replacements. This can save you time and money by avoiding expensive breakdowns in the future.

Naturally, if something does go wrong with a home system or appliance due to normal wear and tear, a home warranty could save you big bucks. See what a home warranty covers.

When should I start winter home maintenance checks?

You don’t want to wait for the ice and snow to arrive before starting winter maintenance. Get moving in the late fall or early winter before the falling temperatures can do damage.

Some end-of-summer maintenance can also prepare your home for the winter months ahead. Of course, you shouldn’t feel discouraged if the season has already changed. It’s better late than never when it comes to home maintenance.

Is there a winter maintenance and DIY inspection checklist?

We’ve got you covered! Although not every home is the same, this checklist will give ideas for where to start with your own winter home prep.

You can even print this out and add ideas that are specific to your home.

Outside Your Home: Winter Maintenance Checklist

  • Trim trees: Low hanging branches can present hazards when snow and ice accumulate. Take care of any potential dangers, especially close to your home or other outdoor structures.
  • Mow your lawn: Giving one last trim to your yard will help keep grass healthy throughout the winter. Keep it to about two or three inches and try to get the last mow in before frost appears.
  • Clean gutters: Cleaning out your gutters will keep them clear of blockages and prevent melted snow from accumulating in your roof or foundation.
  • Recaulk windows and doors: Keep heat in and cold air out by sealing any cracks or damaged caulking around these areas. Winterizing your home is one of the best protections against the cold.
  • Insulate outdoor pipes: Any exterior pipes and faucets outside your home have the potential to freeze during cold weather. Clear them of water and insulate them to prevent leaks and freezing.

Inside Your Home: Winter Maintenance Checklist

  • Inspect your furnace: Your furnace will get a workout in the winter. Make sure it’s in good working condition by getting it inspected by a professional. A home warranty can help protect HVAC systems.
  • Perform boiler maintenance: Maintaining your boiler will also prevent any surprises during winter. Check for leaks, make sure things are running at an adequate temperature, and consider flushing it out.
  • Check your sump pump: Make sure the exterior drain is clear and your sump pump is in good working order.
  • Clean ductwork: Perform cleaning and dusting to help prevent indoor allergies and unpleasant odors from creeping into your home during winter.
  • Change air filters: Your air filters worked hard during the warmer months, so it’s time to replace them before the cold comes on.
  • Sweep your chimney: Cleaning out your chimney before putting it to use again can prevent blockages and keep air circulating smoothly in your home.
  • Reverse ceiling fans: Having your fans spin clockwise will pull air upwards, forcing warm air down to keep your home warmer.
  • Test alarms: Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors keep your family safe. Make sure batteries are replaced and everything is working normally.
  • Gather snow equipment: Shovels, snowblowers, and sidewalk salt are great to have when the snow comes bearing down. Make sure you know where these items are and that they’re in good working condition.
  • Keep supplies stocked: If you’re running gas heaters, make sure you’ve got your order in and have tanks filled before the temperature drops.

Important: Be ready for winter storms!

When the weather really packs a wallop and you find yourself in a blizzard, you’ll be glad you did your maintenance early. Be further prepared by having a first-aid kit, blankets, extra batteries, and flashlights at the ready in case of extreme weather conditions or power outages.

How can a home warranty help me in the winter?

If you’re worried about your home’s systems and appliances breaking down on you, put your mind at ease with a home warranty plan. Save time and money by being put in touch with the right professionals for repairs and replacements.

With the proper maintenance and preparation, your home will be winter-ready. Before you know it, you’ll be on your way to getting your home ready for spring!